Group Communication and Decision-Making Methods
This paper will focus on two primary factors important for the leaders, in the modern world, to completely conquer. These two factors are:
Decision making methods
The paper also provides proof using prior researches done on the aforementioned subjects, focusing primarily on the role of the leader in instigating motivation amongst the employees as well as improving the overall decision making processes. The paper will also take into consideration the views presented in different books written today like the Power of Impossible Thinking by Jerry Wind, Colin Crook and Robert Gunther, first published in 2004 as well as the Prepared Mind of a Leader by Bill Welter and Jean Egmon first published in 2005.
Decision making methods and Leadership
Communication is all about the approach towards a common goal. It is the lifeblood of an effective and successful leader (Wind, Crook and Gunther, 2004). All leaders aim to entice their employees with a motivational beginning to a project and one that brings the employee inadvertently to the aim of the project. This is how one’s ability to think can actually be powerful if his decision making skills match up.
Of course, over the years researchers focused on the power of thinking and the impact it has on the leader’s decision making skills have taken different approaches which have also been appreciated. Some researchers have focused on constructing a mental design of how we interpret our surroundings and hence given a summary of how powerful thinking would help them in enhancing this particular mental interpretation as well as their overall decision making ability. Another popular approach to approaching similar themed researches is to take a more academic approach and reviewing similar literature and conclusions that have been made in the past with regards to the same topic (Wind, Crook and Gunther, 2004).
Wind, Crook and Gunther (2004) in their book took one of the more practical approaches in the sense that they allowed the leader’s personal understanding and response to what he interprets lead how he adopts their ideas to instigate top decision making structures. Coming from a creative reading background, I found this book to be an interesting balance between a creative writing blend and an academic representation of the topic, without being too boring or overwhelming with technical details about the schematics of a leader or the aspects of decision making.
The leader’s reaction to a situation is mostly dependent upon how he/she mentally interprets it as opposed to what the situation provokes out of him/her. A leader must always lead by example especially in a group situation when different personalities and cultures can lead to potential clashes. Hence, I feel that the book written by Wind, Crook and Gunther (2004) and researches carried out by Conger & Kanungo (1998) and Sosik and Dinger (2007) are very important for modern leaders when deciphering the dos and don’ts of modern decision making. These aforementioned studies and book depend upon the reader’s interpretation of what is written. Unlike other similar researches or books, these provoke the reader to think the way they preach. The beauty of this approach is hence the fact that the reader is involved as much as the writers in teaching the power of thinking. The process of the content present in these researches and book is not complete without the input of the reader. Furthermore, they are designed to allow you to interpret the main theories present about decision making structures based on your own personal business experiences and life situations (Wind, Crook and Gunther, 2004).
In my opinion, once group communication is conquered the leader can also transform the following aspects:
Instigate a positive transformation in:
Figure out how to get oneself out of a rut at work
Instigate a positive change in the progression of one’s company
Help enhance one’s status against the competitors in the market
Help one instill a positive and sustainable communication flow on a personal and group level
Help manage the flow and level of knowledge that is processed and channeled one’s way
Present different options for an individual to mentally interpret the society and situation being faced
Help you become a charismatic leader
Help design high performance teams structures and sustain them
It is a simple fact that the transformation of one’s mental approach can transform the overall results one attains in personal and professional life endeavors (Wind, Crook and Gunther, 2004). One of the major reasons why I found these researches and book to be extremely useful in my life was that they helped me understand how I, as a leader, can act as the sole motivator of my team as a charismatic leader. Looking at similar studies conducted in the past on what the qualities of a charismatic leader are I realized that these researches and book had them all.
For case in point, a recent study conducted by Sosik and Dinger (2007) asserts that “Shamir, House, & Arthur’s (1993) self-concept based theory of charismatic leadership provided the general theoretical framework for this study. This theory proposes that the leader, whose behavior is not only instrumental but also expressive of the self, develops and articulates vision statements that strongly engage followers’ self-concepts in the interest of the vision articulated by the leader. In a political case study illustrating their theory, Shamir et al. (1994) linked examples of charismatic leadership (e.g., Jesse Jackson) with the articulation of inspirational vision themes, and non-charismatic leadership (e.g., Michael Dukakis) with the articulation of instrumental vision themes” (Sosik and Dinger, 2007).
Similarly other researchers have also concluded that the whole structure of charismatic leadership is explained as part of the social influence factors process that incorporates the construction and expression of suggestive and practical ideas. Furthermore, a charismatic leader is also meant to instigate inspiration and motivation for a team effort that exhibits understanding of the environmental inclinations and shows alternative or original daring activities. These activities cause the leaders to not only be the managers of a project but also be the role models for their employees (Conger & Kanungo, 1998; Shamir et al., 1993). The book proposes that the employees usually get attracted to the leader and then the aims of the project or its vision. This then will enable the employees to “experience task meaningfulness, and make sacrifices for the collective cause” (Sosik and Dinger, 2007).
Sosik and Dinger (2007) further support what has been said in the book by asserting that they “operationalize charismatic leadership in the present study along core behavioral dimensions using relevant measures from the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ-5X; Bass & Avolio, 1997). Our approach was to utilize this widely used survey to assess two core dimensions of charismatic leadership described in the literature and consistent with the theory of Shamir et al. (1993) of charismatic leadership, and Thrash & Elliot’s (2003) psychological construct of inspiration, characterized by evocation, motivation, and transcendence. These dimensions are inspirational motivation and idealized influence which represent the two “charismatic” components of transformational leadership. Inspirational motivation involves communicating high performance expectations through the projection of a powerful, confident and dynamic presence. Such behaviors evoke powerful emotional responses from followers that energize them to exert extra effort. Idealized influence involves the display and attribution of role modeling for followers through exemplary personal achievements, character strengths and/or behavior. Such behaviors promote the transcendence of ordinary preoccupations and self-interests of followers to form a strong emotional bond with the leader (Bass & Avolio, 1997)” (as cited in Sosik and Dinger, 2007).
“Chance favors the prepared mind.” This statement first made by Louis Pasteur, a 19th-century scientist, was the premise for this discussion on group communication methods applied by the leaders today. Pasteur made this statement to explain his capability to create and solve innovatively whatever complications or shortcomings he faced in his professional career (Welter and Egmon, 2005). Using this approach worked out brilliantly for Pasteur as he was able to carry out numerous successful researches on the processes of crystallization as well as fermentation. Both these aspects were able to help the industries at the time completely revolutionize and enhance their overall processes whether they were dairy industries or other science-based industries. Either way, Pasteur was a great example of what one must be prepared for mentally in case an opportunity knocks on their doors. The leaders today can use the example of Pasteur to instigate the level of preparation they must have in the ever-evolving market to truly make the best of the opportunities that present themselves.
Prepared Mind Leadership
In a very relevant and recent book, the authors write that “in our working definition of Prepared Mind leadership, we see leadership as the practice of continuously envisioning [an] opportunity for growth within complex, dynamic environments, built upon core principles the organization is committed to sustaining and using as the basis for value delivered to all of its stakeholders. Implied in our definition is that leaders, no matter where they are in the organization, are strategists in terms of making opportunities explicit and knowing why and when and how to move into and navigate the various problems and opportunities they face” (Welter and Egmon, 2005).
You can be an individual contributor or a “box on the organizational chart” and still act as a leader in your organization because of the communication strategies you apply, or fail to do so. Prepared Mind leadership is not limited by formal roles but is guided by decision making abilities and group communication strategies. In fact, the more we looked at acts of leadership, the more we realized the power, the responsibility and the risk of ‘acting outside the narrow confines of your job description’ and being mentally prepared to take the necessary decisions based on diverse circumstances. Furthermore, in this era of continuously shifting boundaries and relationships, and shorter job and strategy shelf lives, successful people learn to do just that, for their own good and for the good of their organizations. It’s an organizational requirement that you perform your job and perform it well. But leadership is a voluntary act (Welter and Egmon, 2005).
To support this we quote out of the study conducted by Sosik and Dinger (2007) who again assert that “Bass (1985) did not consider intellectual stimulation to be an aspect of charismatic leadership, and his view has been supported in previous research on the factor structure of the MLQ (e.g., Avolio, Bass, & Jung, 1999; Yammarino, Spangler, & Bass, 1993). Likewise, individualized consideration provides a more supportive and developmental leadership function rather than an inspirational function (Bass, 1985) and thus was not examined in the present study. Management-by-exception (active and passive), the two corrective leadership styles in the Full Range Leadership model (Bass & Avolio, 1997), were also excluded from this study because they may promote fear and stifle innovation (Avolio, 1994; Sosik & Dionne, 1997). Such effects on followers are not consistent with the notions of inspiration (Thrash & Elliot, 2003) and charismatic leadership (Shamir et al., 1993)” (as cited in Sosik and Dinger, 2007).
Welter and Egmon (2005) write that it doesn’t matter “Whether you hold a position of leadership in the traditional sense or decide that you are someone who will choose to ‘step outside the strict confines of their job description’, the intent of this book is to help you develop the skills of a Prepared Mind leader” (Welter and Egmon, 2005).
Group Communication and leadership
Good group leadership is built around effective communication between teams. It is an aspect that, like many other aspects in business, requires a combined effort of skills and performances. It takes a conscious effort to improve one’s group leadership skills and requires regular implementation of techniques learned before it can be mastered if at all. In the book ‘the Prepared Mind of a Leader’, the authors identify eight primary tasks of a good leader or group leader which are listed below:
Analyzing using pure logic
Stimulating by thought-provoking processes
Enhancing performance (Welter and Egmon, 2005)
It is important to know the comparisons between efficient and inefficient leaders in order to avoid those situations or characteristics. Hence, “the present study also focuses on measuring two types of non-charismatic leadership styles which were examined in the study of Berson et al. (2001) of vision statements. Transactional contingent reward leadership involves using goal setting and contingent rewards to influence followers. Such instrumental behavior clarifies followers’ expectations, discusses specifically expected outcomes and performance targets, and uses rewards to reinforce the positive performance of followers. Laissez faire leadership reflects passive leader behaviors such as avoidance of getting involved, making decisions, and dealing in problems (Bass & Avolio, 1997), and represents an appropriate contrast to the more active and effective charismatic and contingent reward leadership styles” (as cited in Sosik and Dinger, 2007).
When talking about the qualities of a good group leader, numerous researchers, like Shamir and his colleagues in their study, assume that the good leaders are always very articulate about who they are as individuals and what they want their organizations to stand for. Such lucid articulation is believed to revolve around other aspects of business as well like the moral, values and principles that he stood up for as a leader and the compromises he won’t make on a personal and professional level to attain profits or growth. This articulation when repeated and backed up by practical examples can leave a permanent mark on the employees’ decision making as well. Furthermore, communication is the key for an articulate leader in order to not only establish a set of standards for himself but also enforce them through examples on all of his employees as well (Shamir et al., 1994). This is also where self-monitoring from the leader becomes important as well.
“Self-monitoring refers to an individual’s ability to regulate the presentation of his or her identity to others (Snyder, 1987). High self-monitors are astute at scanning their environments, more accurately reading social cues, and adapting their behavior, or self-presentation, to appropriately match the particular situation in which they find themselves. Conversely, low self-monitors are less sensitive to cues in their social environment that would help determine socially appropriate behavior and they do not adjust their behavior to match the appropriateness of the situation (Snyder, 1987)” (as cited in Sosik and Dinger, 2007).
In this particular book chosen for analysis, the authors also focus on the aspect of power and its role for a prepared leader. Power or authority is another important aspect for a prepared group leader to have. Power can help a leader to attain any and all organizational aims he had set for the company as well as motivate the team members to do the same. House & Howell (1992) in their study highlight that this particular characteristic is obvious in a socialized and modern leader. On the other hand, it is important to not let the accessibility of power drive an individual to exploit personal gains; this is another aspect what a leader must be prepared to counter if and when it happens (House and Howell, 1992).
A prepared group leader is also meant to instill in his employees the urgency to attain higher standards or what Zhang and Bruning (2011) call the ‘need for achievement’ (NFA). They assert that “the need for achievement (NFA) construct has a long history in psychology. It generally refers to a stable, learned characteristic in which satisfaction is obtained by striving for and attaining higher levels of excellence (Feldman, 1999). Although NFA was originally conceptualized as a stable personal trait, more recent studies have demonstrated that it can evolve over time, particularly through the acquisition of advanced education, such as an MBA program. One study found that students substantially increased their achievement needs after enrolling in an MBA program (Hansemark, 1998). Prior research also indicates that there is a positive relationship between NFA and entrepreneurship (Johnson, 1990). Research also suggests that angel investors typically have a higher NFA (Duxbury et al., 1996); entrepreneurs with a higher NFA are more likely to be successful (Johnson and Ma, 1995). In some cases, NFA is one of the selection criteria for entering entrepreneurship training programs (Gupta, 1989). There seems to be a consensus on the positive relationship between managerial NFA and successful performance” (as cited in Zhang and Bruning, 2011).
This paper focused on two primary factors important for the leaders, in the modern world, to completely conquer. These two factors are:
Decision making methods
The paper focused on different aspects that can help an individual be a better version of themselves in life as well as work. Some of the aspects that the paper focused on included the decision making patterns of a leader, the communication aspects needed in a team as well as the role of the leader in instigating motivation amongst the employees as well as improving the overall decision making processes. The paper will also took into consideration the views presented in different books written today on the topic at hand, like the Power of Impossible Thinking by Jerry Wind, Colin Crook and Robert Gunther, first published in 2004 as well as the Prepared Mind of a Leader by Bill Welter and Jean Egmon first published in 2005.
The paper highlighted the following aspects:
The reaction and mental response of an individual is more important for a thinker and a prepared leader in order to instigate beneficial results
A charismatic leader can motivate his employees more so then a passive leader
Communication is key, whether mental or verbal, in order to engage a suitable result out of a complicated situation
A good group leader is able to instill and motivate in his employees and team leader the necessity to achieve higher standards in their personal as well as processional lives
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Avolio, B.J., Bass, B.M., & Jung, D.I. (1999). Reexamining the components of transformational and transactional leadership using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 72, 441-462.
Bass, B.M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectations. New York: Free Press.
Bass, B.M., & Avolio, B.J. (1997). Full range leadership development: Manual for the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. Palo Alto, CA: Mind Garden.
Berson, Y., Shamir, B., Avolio, B.J., & Popper, M. (2001). The relationship between vision strength, leadership style, and content. The Leadership Quarterly, 12, 53-73.
Conger, J.A., & Kanungo, R.N. (1998). Charismatic leadership in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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Feldman, R.S. (1999), Understanding Psychology, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.
Gupta, S.K. (1989), “Entrepreneurship development: the Indian case,” Journal of Small Business Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 67-9.
Hansemark, O.C. (1998), “The effects of an entrepreneurship program on need for achievement and locus of control of reinforcement,” International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 28-50.
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Johnson, B.R. (1990), “Toward a multidimensional model of entrepreneurship: the case of achievement motivation and the entrepreneur,” Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 39-54.
Johnson, D. And Ma, R.S.F. (1995), “A method for selecting and training entrants on new business start-up programs,” International Small Business Journal, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 80-4.
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Snyder, M. (1987). Private appearances/public realities: The psychology of self-monitoring. NY: Freeman.
Sosik, J.J. And Dinger, S.L. (2007). Relationships between leadership style and vision content: The moderating role of need for social approval, self-monitoring, and need for social power. The Leadership Quarterly 18, 134 — 153.
Sosik, J.J., & Dionne, S.D. (1997). Leadership styles and Deming’s behavior factors. Journal of Business and Psychology, 11, 447-462.
Thrash, T.M., & Elliot, A.J. (2003). Inspiration as a psychological construct. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 871-889.
Welter, B. And Egmon, J. (2005). The Prepared Mind of a Leader: Eight Skills Leaders Use to Innovate, Make Decisions, and Solve Problems (J-B U.S. non-Franchise Leadership). Jossey-Bass; 1 edition.
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